Chuck Klosterman

  • I Can Make Your Dreams Come True

    Now,I know what you're thinking; you're thinking, "I have already found theband of my dreams, and they are called Maroon 5." But try to thinkbeyond conventional reality. Everyone who likes music has probablyfantasized about their version of the perfect lineup for the perfectband. This is something people do when they are 14, or stoned, or 14and stoned. This is something I occasionally bring up to strangers incasual conversation, and I always expect them to dismiss the exerciseas a waste of time; to my surprise, they never do. Here's the idea: You must build the ideal rock band. Youneed a singer, a guitarist, a bass player, a drummer, and one "wildcard" (this musician can play whatever you choose and provide backingvocals).

  • Saliva - Survival of the Sickest ; Breaking Benjamin - We Are Not Alone

    SalivaSurvival of the SickestIsland Breaking BenjaminWe Are Not AloneHollywood I'm not a musician, so (obviously) I'm not in a position togive advice to musicians. But I feel like I can make an exception withSaliva, a band that probably don't have a lot of professionalpretensions. And here's my advice: Make an instrumental album. Or analbum where all the lyrics are sung in a different language. Cantonese,perhaps. I realize that sounds vaguely insulting, especially sincevocalist Josey Scott is supposedly the "brains" of this outfit and thedriving force behind Survival of the Sickest. But the factremains: This album would be better without Scott screaming aboutabsolute nonsense.

  • Uncle Kracker, 'Seventy Two & Sunny' (Lava)

    Uncle Kracker is a rock artist who makes country music. This is not terribly uncommon, but there's something interesting about the way Mr. Kracker makes the rock-to-country transformation: None of the tracks on Seventy Two & Sunny remotely resemble "country rock." They all sound like pop songs (there are no waltzes or fiddle reveries or twang-infused references to rodeo clowns), yet they all feel like country songs. The result is a better-than-decent album that will appeal to those who don't listen to music with sociology in mind, which is probably 90 percent of America. Part of what makes Kracker compelling is his maniacal obsession with hit making.

  • A Man for All Cookouts: Uncle Kracker's Seventy Two & Sunny

    Uncle KrackerSeventy Two & SunnyLava Uncle Kracker is a rock artist who makes country music. Thisis not terribly uncommon, but there's something interesting about theway Mr. Kracker makes the rock-to-country transformation: None of thetracks on Seventy Two & Sunny remotely resemble "countryrock." They all sound like pop songs (there are no waltzes or fiddlereveries or twang-infused references to rodeo clowns), yet they all feellike country songs. The result is a better-than-decent album that willappeal to those who don't listen to music with sociology in mind, whichis probably 90 percent of America. Part of what makesKracker compelling is his maniacal obsession with hit making. It's toobad this dude wasn't born in the late 19th century, because he wouldhave loved working on Tin Pan Alley. Hit singles are the only songs hehas any interest in creating.

  • Two Times Dope: Bring back incredibly awesome long-ass two-part rock songs

    Do you know what song I was listening to last weekend? I supposeyou don't (and if somehow you do, shouting the correctanswer in the general direction of this magazine will do you nogood whatsoever, unless you happen to be a psychotic drifter, inwhich case this act will seem consistent with your day-to-daybehavior). Well, the song I was listening to last weekend was"Layla," by Derek and the Dominos, which is surprising, because Igenerally like listening to Eric Clapton about as much as I likegetting kicked in the throat by Jet Li. However, something struckme about "Layla" that made me consider the state of contemporarypop music, particularly a certain artistic quality that--forwhatever reason--seems to be on the decline. Do you know what song I was listening to last weekend?

  • Velvet Revolver, 'Contraband' (RCA)

    Velvet RevolverContrabandRCAThe members of Velvet Revolver--former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland, former Guns N' Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum, plus some guy who used to be in Wasted Youth--seem to be lost. They had to choose between two potential paths, and they chose poorly. What they've attempted to do is make a record that will prompt people to say, "Whoa, this is like a Guns N' Roses album, except that dude from STP is singing!" What they should have done was make a record that would've caused people to say, "Hey, this sounds like what would've happened if GN'R had aspired to be Stone Temple Pilots." Because when you really think about it, what would make you more enthusiastic: Scott Weiland and the DeLeo brothers plugging away at "You Could Be Mine," or a bootleg version of Guns N' Roses covering "Sex Type Thing"? This is a troubling record.

  • Are You Ready to Testify?!

    What is the purpose of rock'n'roll? Is rock'n'roll supposed to soothe the soul of the savagebeast? Is it supposed to re-engineer the framework of art, culture, andpower? Is it supposed to obliterate your freak-ass mind and make youdance like a hydroelectric grizzly bear. Probably. Those are all important functions ofrock'n'roll, and they're all valid. But none of those things is theprimary purpose of rock music; they are all peripheral. What rock musicis supposed to do is save the world. That's its job. Any rock song thatdoes not save the world is a failure. And this is why rock isstruggling in 2004. Right now, television is saving more people thanpop music. I used to think reality television was successful because ofnarcissism. Later, I decided it was actually successful because ofvoyeurism.

  • Beastie Boys on SPIN's July 2004 cover / Photo by Spike Jonze

    Beastie Boys: Twilight of the Brats

    "That's the dog. That's the dog." Adam "King Ad-Rock" Horovitz, Adam "MCA" Yauch, and Michael "Mike D" Diamond are in the back of a Lincoln Navigator, and we're all driving toward a loft on Manhattan's Lower East Side where the Beastie Boys used to play music while battling blood-hungry rats and unscrupulous landlords. We'll arrive at the loft in ten minutes. But right now, there's a terrier crossing the street, led by an old man wearing a cowboy hat. "This is a great story," Yauch says, looking at Horovitz. "Tell the story about the dog." "This fucking little piece of shit dog bit me twice," says Horovitz. The others don't laugh, but not because the statement isn't funny — they don't laugh because these guys always seem to communicate through one-liners. In Beastie World, this is conventional dialogue.

  • Twilight of the Brats

    Adam"King Ad-Rock" Horovitz, Adam "MCA" Yauch, and Michael "Mike D" Diamondare on the back of a Lincoln Navigator, and we're all driving toward aloft in Manhattan's Lower East Side where the Beastie Boys used to playmusic while battling blood-hungry rats and unscrupulous landlords.We'll arrive at the loft in ten minutes. But right now, there's aterrier crossing the street, led by an old man wearing a cowboy hat."This is a great story," Yauch says, looking at Horovitz. "Tell thestory about the dog." "This fucking little piece of shit dog bit me twice," saysHorovitz. The others don't laugh, but not because the statement isn'tfunny--they don't laugh because these guys always seem tocommunicate through one-liners. In Beastie World, this is conventional dialogue. Diamondsardonically voices fear that such a statement will make the BeastieBoys seem like animal haters, but Horovitz is unmoved.

  • Intimate Portrait - Josh Homme

    Youprobably know Josh Homme as the six-foot-five-inch singer and guitaristfor Queens of the Stone Age. However, Homme is also thesix-foot-five-inch drummer for Eagles of Death Metal, a side projectwith childhood friend Jesse "the Devil" Hughes and Belgian guitaristTim Vanhamel. We swooped in for a lively debate with the Don Henley ofdesert rock. Is it true you guys named this band Eagles of Death Metal because you met some dude who thought Poison was a death metal band? No, not really. We met this guy in a local bar who was missing teethand had been drinking endlessly for years, and that was his belief. Butthe larger truth is that we're the Eagles ofDeath Metal, so we're neither death metal nor the Eagles. We're thatmissing link between them.

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